Essay about Art History

Submitted By cffrancis
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Art History 102
Midterm Exam

2. Compare and contrast the ways in which these two paintings handle space, light, and the body in their respective attempts to communicate a religious narrative to the viewer.
Perugino, The Delivery of the Keys to St. Peter (1481)
Perugino was one of the original artists during the high renaissance era to use depth to this degree. He uses a textbook example of linear perspective. The piece takes place on what appears to be a large grid which allows us to distinguish the distance between people in the foreground, middle ground, and background. Horizontal lines separate foreground from background, the diagonal lines create the look of depth as they meet at the vanishing point near the entrance of the building in the background. He also fades the colors in the background to give a feeling of deep space as well. It is a way of creating an illusion of depth by muting colors in the distance The colors in the front are more vibrant and the trees in the back are bland and dull colors. All this combined gives off the feel of a 3D image in a 2D painting.

Caravaggio, The Conversion of St Paul (1601)
Caravaggio used many different methods to handle space, light, and the body. The painting looks as if it is three-dimensional, with Paul in the foreground’s bright light, the smaller figures fading into the immediate darkness. God appears to be this dull light which appears only in the upper right. A dark atmosphere penetrated by dramatic and theatrical light added to the detail of what is lit. In a religious sense Paul can be seen with his eyes closed and hands to the heavens as if he is asking why god is doing this to him. In this exact moment in the painting there is strong religious elation. This scene shows when Paul becomes one with the spirit of Jesus and in response to this has been knocked off of his horse.

3. These two paintings are both products of the Northern Renaissance, and both depict contemporary people in a secular, or non-religious, framework. However, the people in question hail from different social groups, and are represented differently by the respective artists. Enumerate some of these differences in how these paintings approach the representation of people.
Hans Holbein, The Ambassadors (1533)
Their weren’t too many different social classes in at 1500’s and it was very easy to tell who was wealthy and who was a peasant. Hans Holbein depicts the typical educated upper-class population in this work. The two gentlemen in the painting are both dressed in your typical wealthy garb and tunics that are only seen among the upper class. On a table with a silk cloth over it you can see various tools of navigation and exploration. Something that only the upper class dabbled in. There are also notebooks with writings in them and various writing instruments. Only the upper class can afford these items and were able to receive the education needed to use these items. A large portion of the population wasn’t taught to read or write unless you had the proper…